As part of our series of articles and blog posts from our volunteers, Kate Cooper has written this brilliant behind-the-scenes blog post about the work that went into the shoot for the photos to promote the 1950s Sheringham Park event and the 1940s fashion in Wells. The resulting photos are used on our Festival website, posters, leaflets and on social media. Thanks team!
By Kate Cooper:
Once upon an ominously overcast day in 2016, an intrepid team set out from the sprawling metropolis that is the Fine City of Norwich for the wilds of Sheringham Park.
Our noble quest…? To produce a set of stunning images to promote an upcoming 1950s-themed event to take place in the park’s famously spectacular Rhododendron (hardest word to spell, ever, folks) gardens. The event is due to take place in May, so we obviously felt that a February day darker and stormier than any ginger-and-rum-based beverage (there were actual weather warnings in place) was the best time to capture the magic of a summers evening in bloom… Ahem.
Thankfully, our gallant band doesn’t scare easy. Among the line-up were photographer Alexandra ‘Ally’ Blackburn, aka Lavender Bea, who can shoot a fast-moving bride at forty paces; hair and makeup artist Nutcharin Baxter, as talented as she is tiny; model Charlotte Forshaw, whose superpower is to withstand near-freezing temperatures whilst appearing to enjoy herself and James Shelton, new to the modelling profession and the guy you want on your team if you require emergency nude tights from Tesco, Sheringham…
The aim of the game was to create images with the same feel as 1950s fashion photography. I put together a couple of moodboards to help convey this to Ally in advance of the shoot.
I looked at loads of 1950s fashion imagery for inspiration (you’ve got to love Pinterest!) to put together some outfits for the shoot, but to fully create the illusion of travelling back in time, Charlotte needed the hair and make-up to match. Here were the moodboards I sent Nutcharin so she knew what to prepare for on the day:
We all arrived at Sheringham Park by 11am and were met by Rob, the mastermind behind the 1950s event we were there to promote.
We got straight to work, fearful that the weather would turn against us at any time! Nutcharin set to Charlotte’s hair and make-up while Ally and I scoped locations that were particularly ‘rhododendron-ey’ with Rob Coleman, popping back to drink tea, eat biscuits and allow Ally to snap some ‘behind-the-scenes’ shots.
Miraculously, the weather seemed to be holding out as we started shooting. I had prepared several outfits for Charlotte, which we shot over 3 locations.
Finally we took my favourite shots (and James makes his modelling debut!) with the couple walking down this path. Charlotte’s pink polka-dot prom dress in the perfect 50s party dress.
This is what it looked like after Ally worked her photography magic: I absolutely love it!
I think we can safely say that the dream-team knocked it out of the park with this one…
The team involved were: